Weekly Program Updates / Sign Up
SundayArts is Now NYC-ARTS
video archive NYC-ARTS.org
Preview of Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound
Posted: October 13th, 2009
  • comments (2)

In the first comprehensive documentary to chronicle the private life and public career of Joan Baez, American Masters examines her history as a recording artist and performer as well as her remarkable journey as the conscience of a generation.

Following Baez on her 2008/2009 world tour, the filmmakers captured Baez in performance as well as in intimate conversations with individuals whose lives parallel hers. From a stop in Sarajevo, Bosnia to revisit the scene of Joan’s courageous trip to that war-torn city in the middle of the 1993 siege, to Nashville, Tennessee, where she joined Steve Earle to talk about their collaboration on Joan’s 2008 Grammy-nominated album Day After Tomorrow, the film allows viewers an unprecedented level of access to Ms. Baez.

Shot in high definition with a natural, filmic look, Joan is also joined on screen by, David Crosby, Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn and Reverend Jesse Jackson, among others, to illuminate this extraordinary life. Rich historical archival footage – Baez’ controversial visit to North Vietnam, where she is seen praying with the residents of Hanoi during the heaviest bombing of the war; Martin Luther King Jr. outside a California prison where he visited Joan to offer his support after she was jailed for staging a protest; Joan at her first Newport Folk Festival in 1959 and Joan as a teenager performing at the historic Club 47 – is woven into the story so viewers can experience scenes from Joan’s life that have never been uncovered.

The grit of the film is Baez’ power as a musician – from her tentative teenage years in the Cambridge, Mass coffee houses to her emergence onto the world stage and the 50-year career that followed – Joan Baez is a musical force of nature and this film captures her strength as a performer and the influence she has brought to bear on successive generations of artists.

  • Gail Bachman

    Missed it.. will it be repeated?

  • Paul B

    Thanks PBS. for showcasing Joan Baez,I enjoyed seeing her and Bob Dylan together, and when she was 12 years old with her sister MIMI, Ive heard Joan speak in French and Spanish how many people can do that. Joan stood on the front lines of history ,thanks Joan Baez we love you

sunday arts footer

SundayArts is made possible in part by First Republic Bank and by the Rubin Museum of Art. Funding for SundayArts is also made possible by Rosalind P. Walter, The Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation, The Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown, Jody and John Arnhold, and The Lemberg Foundation. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional funding provided by members of THIRTEEN.